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Etiquette

Inviting Grandparents

Hey, I have a bit of a connumdrum: I'm wanting to send invites to my FI's grandparents, but my FMIL has indicated that she rather I didn't. She lives near them, and if they came they would likely catch a ride with her and my FFIL, and she has told me that she doesn't want to help them with the traveling and also that she thinks it would be exhausting for them due to their age. She's more concerned about the latter part, which I completely empathize with. I don't want to make my FI's grandparents feel obligated, and I would in no way be offended if they didn't want to come to the wedding. However, it feels like a huge snub/insult to not at least send them an invite.

I would like to send them an invite, but make it clear that there is no obligation to come and there will be no hard feelings if they don't.

I think it ought really be my FI's desicion, but everytime I've asked him about it he's completely nuetral on the issue (which is a little frustrating).

It would help us to know what the proper ediquette in this situation is: Should we send invites (letting them know there are no obligations or hard feelings attached), or should we not send invites?

Also, if they did end up coming my FI and I have no problem helping them set up alternative travel arrangements so that we didn't put his mother out.
Don't mind me... I haven't slept since last Wednesday.

Re: Inviting Grandparents

  • Also, also... we're having a second reception at his parent's home after our honeymoon, so that his family that can't make it to our wedding will have a chance to celebrate with us. So, whether my FI's grandparent's make it to our actual wedding, they will have a chance to celebrate it with us.
    Don't mind me... I haven't slept since last Wednesday.
  • Your FI needs to be the one to make this decision--I understand that he is neutral on the issue, but you need to make it clear to him that this is a decision that he needs to lead on.  I totally understand that you FMIL doesn't want to be focused on getting them to and from, since it's her son's wedding, but I would think his grandparents would be heartbroken if they weren't invited.  Talk to FMIL and try to figure out if there's another way you could work travel arrangements.  How far would they need to travel?  You may actually be able to hire an aid who is trained to assist older people to drive them to the wedding and assist them.  

    My grandparents are in their 90s, and they have finally hired someone to come in and assist them a few times a week with laundry, making lunches, cleaning, walking with my grandma, etc.  When the time comes, they'll have her come more often.  My point is, there are people who do this as a profession, and it probably wouldn't be prohibitively expensive to have someone assist in getting them to the wedding, seated, etc. and home.  I think you need to invite them, but I also think FI needs to grow a pair and be part of the decision that impacts HIS family.
  • I'm horrified to think that his grandparents wouldn't at least be invited to share in their grandson's special day!  I would press the issue with your fiance and stress that it's up to him and the decision needs to be made NOW.  I think arranging separate transportation would be for the best.

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  • amanda0543amanda0543
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2012
    In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    Your FI needs to be the one to make this decision--I understand that he is neutral on the issue, but you need to make it clear to him that this is a decision that he needs to lead on.  I totally understand that you FMIL doesn't want to be focused on getting them to and from, since it's her son's wedding, but I would think his grandparents would be heartbroken if they weren't invited.  Talk to FMIL and try to figure out if there's another way you could work travel arrangements.  How far would they need to travel?  You may actually be able to hire an aid who is trained to assist older people to drive them to the wedding and assist them.   My grandparents are in their 90s, and they have finally hired someone to come in and assist them a few times a week with laundry, making lunches, cleaning, walking with my grandma, etc.  When the time comes, they'll have her come more often.  My point is, there are people who do this as a profession, and it probably wouldn't be prohibitively expensive to have someone assist in getting them to the wedding, seated, etc. and home.  I think you need to invite them, but I also think FI needs to grow a pair and be part of the decision that impacts HIS family.
    Posted by freebread03
    He has two grandmothers that live near his parents (a four hour drive from us), and a grandfather that lives in Arizona who would likely need to fly. They're all in their 70's. Flying is a bit of a financial issue for his grandfather, but in my opinion he's perfectly capable of making the call himself. His one grandmother has the start of dementia, and sometimes doesn't realize her own limitations, so there is a concern with her as to whether or not she could accurately access whether she was up to the trip (also she would need someone to watch her while she was here). However, she isn't so far gone that she wouldn't realize that we hadn't sent her an invite (and out of the three she would be the most offended by it). Grandma #2 is totally fine mentally/physically/financially, she just needs a ride down, and it would be hard to invite her without inviting Grandma #1.
    Don't mind me... I haven't slept since last Wednesday.
  • I, too, am horrified they wouldn't at least be INVITED! Just because they may not be able to come doesn't mean they shouldn't be made to believe they are WELCOME to if possible.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    Could you rent a car service for his grandparents for the night? That way your FILs wouldn't have to worry about them getting there and they could leave early in they wanted to.
    Posted by Edie Bee
    We have someone set up to take care of anyone who needs a ride, and someone set up to keep an eye on people who are there, so that wont be a problem.
    Don't mind me... I haven't slept since last Wednesday.
  • In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    I think they're likely to be hurt and offended if they are not invited. They are likely to be hurt and offended if someone else decides "I thought it would be too much for you" as well.  Senior citizens despise surrogate parenting. A personal note indicating that you're willing to help make travel arrangements would be a nice touch to send with the invitation.
    Posted by RetreadBride
    This.  And honestly, they probably will decline if they don't feel they can make the trip.  My grandparents told us they wouldnt be able to come to our wedding in Arizona (even though its a 7 hour drive from San Diego), and they made that decision knowing what was best for them.  I think most grandparents would do this too.
  • In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    I'm horrified to think that his grandparents wouldn't at least be invited to share in their grandson's special day!  I would press the issue with your fiance and stress that it's up to him and the decision needs to be made NOW.  I think arranging separate transportation would be for the best.
    Posted by mlg78

    Gah, tell me about it... :$

    I was absolutely horrified when my FMIL said she didn't want me to send them invites. I had a long talk with her about it, and she was pretty adamant that she didn't want me to send the invites. I adore her and them (we've all spent a lot of time together, and gotten to know eachother fairly well), so I'm stuck in this weird place where I don't want her to feel like I don't appreciate her opinion but at the same time I would feel awful robbing his grandparents of the choice to spend that moment with their grandson.

    I keep trying to get him to make the final call, not only because it's his family but because I think the desicion would be easier to swallow for everyone if he was the one who made it.
    Don't mind me... I haven't slept since last Wednesday.
  • In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents : Gah, tell me about it... :$ I was absolutely horrified when my FMIL said she didn't want me to send them invites. I had a long talk with her about it, and she was pretty adamant that she didn't want me to send the invites. I adore her and them (we've all spent a lot of time together, and gotten to know eachother fairly well), so I'm stuck in this weird place where I don't want her to feel like I don't appreciate her opinion but at the same time I would feel awful robbing his grandparents of the choice to spend that moment with their grandson. I keep trying to get him to make the final call, not only because it's his family but because I think the desicion would be easier to swallow for everyone if he was the one who made it.
    Posted by amanda0543

    Uh YEAH he needs to make this decision, it is so unfair to put you in the place of making it.  Frankly, I would plan to invite him and if any decision other than inviting them is necessary, then your FI can make it, and explain it to anyone who is offended.

  • In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents : Uh YEAH he needs to make this decision, it is so unfair to put you in the place of making it.
    Posted by freebread03
    It's a little hard for him as he has Asperger's, and he struggles with social ediquette because of it. He looks to me a lot for advice on what to do in desicions like this, and I know he is genuinely clueless on how to deal with the situation. I'm hoping that when he gets home from work I can be like, "I did an inquiry into how to handle this situation!!" and it will encourage him to have a stonger opinion on it. :$
    Don't mind me... I haven't slept since last Wednesday.
  • I would strongly advise him to invite his grandparents at least as a courtesy.  Not to would really be a slap across the face for them.
  • The grandparents need to be invited. They can make the decision as to whether or not they can come.  Do NOT include a note saying you understand if they can't come.  That makes it sound like you really don't want them there.  A note offering to help with travel arrangements is certainly acceptable.

    I'd tell FI that you think they should be invited because they would be hurt to not be invited.  If he does not want to invite them, he needs to say so.
  • In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    The grandparents need to be invited. They can make the decision as to whether or not they can come.  Do NOT include a note saying you understand if they can't come.  That makes it sound like you really don't want them there.  A note offering to help with travel arrangements is certainly acceptable. I'd tell FI that you think they should be invited because they would be hurt to not be invited.  If he does not want to invite them, he needs to say so.
    Posted by gailpete
    I agree about the note. I was going ask FI or FMIL to let them know in person/by phone that they shouldn't feel obligated to come if it will be difficult. I know that if anyone sent me an invite with a written caveat that was along the lines of, "Don't worry about coming, I know you're struggling financially/getting feeble." (because let's be honest, no matter how we word it they'll know what we mean) I'd be a little offended no matter how true it was. LOL. >.<
    Don't mind me... I haven't slept since last Wednesday.
  • cajitasazulescajitasazules
    100 Comments
    member
    edited December 2012
    I would send them an invitation.  It would be unthinkable to not include his own grandparents.  My Great Aunt is 89 and needed assistant to travel.  My cousin did not invite her to her wedding and she was hurt.  I invited her to mine.  She declined due to the travel and logistics, but was thrilled to be thought of an included.

    Is there perhaps another relative in FI's family that lives nearby and could assist.  Understandably FMIL and FFIL will be busy with the wedding and someone should be able to step in an assist while they are occupied.

    My cousin had to do this with her other grandmother.  Even though her GM consistently went to her mother for assistant on other days, her aunts/uncles were availalbe to help GM and my aunt could focus on her daughter's wedding day.
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  • amanda0543amanda0543
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2012
    In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    I would send them an invitation.  It would be unthinkable to not include his own grandparents.  My Great Aunt is 89 and needed assistant to travel.  My cousin did not invite her to her wedding and she was hurt.  I invited her to mine.  She declined due to the travel and logistics, but was thrilled to be thought of an included. Is there perhaps another relative in FI's family that lives nearby and could assist.  Understandably FMIL and FFIL will be busy with the wedding and someone should be able to step in an assist while they are occupied. My cousin had to do this with her other grandmother.  Even though her GM consistently went to her mother for assistant on other days, her aunts/uncles were availalbe to help GM and my aunt could focus on her daughter's wedding day.
    Posted by cajitasazules
    Yes, there are people that can assist. Also, my FMIL and FFIL aren't helping with any of the wedding prep/planning (or at least we haven't discussed them helping), and as I said before I have people set up to provide rides and keep an eye on people. It legitimately makes no sense in my mind to not invite them, but if she doesn't want to let them ride down with her that's her business.

    I talked to my FI about it more, and he agreed it was rude and that we should send invites. He also agreed to talk to his grandparents and mother so that no one feels obligated to attend, put out, or offended... so, phew. :)
    Don't mind me... I haven't slept since last Wednesday.
  • Frankly, your FMIL is being incredibly cowardly by asking YOU to not invite the grandparents because she doesn't want to deal with the hassle of traveling with them.  Look, I get that it's very difficult to be a MOG and juggle traveling with elderly relatives and I completely understand if she wanted to tell them that she's not going to be able to assist them.  But she's making YOU into the bad guy by asking you to just snub them completely so that SHE doesn't have to do the selfish thing herself and say "Yeah, good luck getting there." 

    I'd invite them. Period.
  • edited December 2012
    If the MOG oversees the care of GMa#1 (the one with dementia), she is the one who is most intimately aware of GMa's condition. She may know that GMa gets confused in a crowd, tires easily and can't cope with loud music, a change in routine, or suffers from sundowners syndrome. You and fi should offer to pay an aid to get her there and back and to attend to her at the wedding, but if GMa's caregiver declines, respect her decision. .

    I attended a wedding where the bride insisted that her beloved GM attend, even though she was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's. We sat the POB table with the GMa and her aid. The bride never knew that her GMa begged to go home, was disoriented, uncomfortable and had difficulty eating the meal that the aid cut into little, tiny pieces. I mention this because I think the MOG, if she is the GM's caregiver, may be making a decision that is in the best interest of the GM, although it isn't popular. I also speak from personal experience of caring for my own MIL, who has dementia.

    The other grandparents, who are capable of making their own decisions, should be sent invitations. If they decline, I'm sure you will be gracious about it. If they accept, it would be nice if you and fi could offer a means for them to get there, other than the MOG. Perhaps these GPs have children other than your parents that could pitch in.
  • In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    If the MOG oversees the care of GMa#1 (the one with dementia), she is the one who is most intimately aware of GMa's condition. She may know that GMa gets confused in a crowd, tires easily and can't cope with loud music, a change in routine, or suffers from sundowners syndrome. You and fi should offer to pay an aid to get her there and back and to attend to her at the wedding, but if GMa's caregiver declines, respect her decision. . I attended a wedding where the bride insisted that her beloved GM attend, even though she was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's. We sat the POB table with the GMa and her aid. The bride never knew that her GMa begged to go home, was disoriented, uncomfortable and had difficulty eating the meal that the aid cut into little, tiny pieces. I mention this because I think the MOG, if she is the GM's caregiver, may be making a decision that is in the best interest of the GM, although it isn't popular. I also speak from personal experience of caring for my own MIL, who has dementia. The other grandparents, who are capable of making their own decisions, should be sent invitations. If they decline, I'm sure you will be gracious about it. If they accept, it would be nice if you and fi could offer a means for them to get there, other than the MOG. Perhaps these GPs have children other than your parents that could pitch in.
    Posted by MairePoppy

    My FMIL isn't GM#1's caregiver, though she has spent a lot of time with her. I know that it would be a struggle for her, and that she wouldn't want to stay the whole wedding (probably would end up leaving after the ceremony), but she would know if we didn't send an invite and would be very hurt (especially if we invited GM#2). Backing up a little, GM#1 is FFIL's biological mother and GM#2 is his step mother (deceased grandfather left GM#1 for GM#2, and left her alone with a mess of kids). They've since let the past go and get along, but it would still hurt her and I don't have it in me to invite GM#2 without inviting GM#1 because of that. Like I said, she's going but not far gone enough to not realize her grandson is getting married and that she didn't get an invite (and the women her husband left her for did :$).

    It's one of the reasons I pushed calling the GPs (along with inviting them) on my fiance, because it's likely someone might need to talk GM#1 out of coming (for the exact reasons you described) and I understand why FMIL and FFIL don't want to be put in that place.
    Don't mind me... I haven't slept since last Wednesday.
  • I understand your concern that FMIL is planning to leave all the grandparents out to avoid hurting GM#1. That's not fair. If you and fi offer to hire an aide in the event that GM#1 wants to attend the wedding, it might put your FMIL at ease.


  • I appreciate your situation. I share a similar one, on a lesser scale. My aunt is in poor health and has been for years (oxygen tank, colostomy bag). She very much wants to be a part of things and pushes herself; she's also very needy (understandable given her health; she depends on her grown children for help). Last time she traveled out for an event, she ended up in the hospital; it was my Mom's high school reunion and I drove Mom to her event (for which she'd traveled 3,000 miles to attend) and then went to stay with my aunt in the hospital.

    I waivered about inviting her. I do not have any relationship with her children (in a word, they're thugs) so she'd be coming alone. For my wedding, Mom is going to tell her that if she attends (aunt lives in Kentucky, I'm in DC area), she has to be prepared to be self sufficient. Mom and all the other relatives are traveling very far to attend and it's unfair to expect them to take care of her. So I'm inviting her, but setting the expectation that she has to do it all on her own. I know this may seem harsh, but it's too unfair to my mother. My aunt is also an alcoholic and that requires babysitting, too.

    Sooo...my suggestion is that you invite them. But set the expectation that they will need to travel on their own. Or, as PP suggested, hire transportation for them.

    Good luck!
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  • In Response to Re: Inviting Grandparents:
    I think they're likely to be hurt and offended if they are not invited. They are likely to be hurt and offended if someone else decides "I thought it would be too much for you" as well.  Senior citizens despise surrogate parenting. A personal note indicating that you're willing to help make travel arrangements would be a nice touch to send with the invitation.
    Posted by RetreadBride
    I like this suggestion a lot. Very thoughtful and classy.
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